Monday, October 31, 2011

Power of Networking in Network Space

In 2008, there was a map posting of "World Map of Online Community" which was quite interesting that the cyber space has been virtually created. Networking has been tremendously increased through the social networking system not even in the nations but all over the land.

Network power has been emerged to the cyber space. The new terminology 'Power Twitterian' has been used among netizens. Power Twitterian is the one who have many followers and actually affect to followers when they talk about policies or politics.

For example, in Korea, a liberal professor who gets a lot of respects from young people has 160,000 followers. After the news that US passed the FTA agreement between Korea and US. He negatively mentioned FTA effect to Korea. He recommended followers to see the cartoon that describe how bad effects the FTA agreement will bring to Korea. The cartoon explains the FTA concepts by using the football example. For instance, Negative List article which without mentioning on the agreement treat, it should be open to each other is explained the Korean soccer team should decided where they can defense before the game starts. The place where they did not assigned to be defensed, it cannot be defensed.

Since the professor is regarded as one of the smartest intellectual in Korea, what he said is regarded as the representative of what is right. Actually, many young Koreans who read this cartoon, they are against the FTA agreement with US.

Last month, there was an election for Mayor in Seoul. The interesting thing is that the election
concluded with the winner who won the Twits. One of the newspapers in Korea examined that the new mayor won the competition of 'Re-Twit'. This shows the other aspect of the networking power. Networking with citizens through Social network. The picture shown by Twitter were pararell to the outcomes of election. The green line became the mayor.
This brings the significant changes in politics. The politics are becoming to depend more on online networking rather than the political parties anymore.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Complacent Reynolds and the Art of Meme-making

I have the unfortunate distinction of being a Baltimore Orioles fan. Last summer, one of our players, Mark Reynolds, became the subject of an Internet meme that got a lot of attention in the baseball world. The Orioles were playing the Red Sox, and David Ortiz had just hit a homerun. A photo from the game showed Ortiz rounding the bases while Reynolds nonchalantly munched on some sunflower seeds in the background. The image became known as “Complacent Reynolds.” Fans began photoshopping the image into other famous photographs such as Tiananmen Square and the VJ-Day kiss in Times Square. One of my favorites is below. It was one of the few things an O’s fan could laugh at.

Uploaded by Birds of B'more
In class this week, Prof. Hayden asked us to consider the process of creating a meme. Questions to be asked include “who is the intended audience” and “what is the objective.” To answer these questions, I began thinking about the Complacent Reynolds meme. At first, I thought it was geared toward baseball fans. But now I realize that it can resonate with an extremely wide audience. It doesn’t take a profound knowledge of baseball, or any sport for that matter, to find humor in a guy complacently eating sunflower seeds instead of paying attention to his job. Obviously, the most successful memes are the ones that appeal to the widest audiences. They should be simple and relatable, like Complacent Reynolds.

This meme was also successful because of its interactivity. Whereas some funny photos and videos are just meant to be passed along, Complacent Reynolds thrived on creativity. People were encouraged to create their own takes on the meme. Many people posted their original versions to an online forum for Orioles fans. The objectives of this meme were to make people laugh and to inspire them to participate. The meme accomplished those goals well.

Another question addressed in class was how to “drop” the meme into a network. This is where I believe the Complacent Reynolds meme fell short of its potential. Although the meme’s content could appeal to just about anyone, many people never stumbled across it. Propagators of the meme could have posted it to sites that are more widely accessed than an Orioles forum. But where would that be? YouTube is the obvious choice for posting a video meme, but a still image presents a challenge. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to make a photo or graphic go viral? 

Defeating Terrorism with Network Theory

The study of networks was not the easiest concept of the semester to understand. According to Amelia Arsenault in “Networks: Emerging Frameworks for Analysis,” one of the predominant reasons for this is the confusion of networks as a social construct versus networks as a form of network technology. But looking at networks as a way that people connect is an interesting way to examine the connections that bind different groups together.

One of the most interesting groups Arsenault applies Network Theory to is a terrorist group. Much criminal activity can now be classified as Netwars. This means the strength of the relationships or connections within the network are what decide the outcome. If a terrorist group has a star-format network, the hub will have to be taken out to defeat the cell. If they are built as a mesh network, meaning all the nodes are interconnected to each other and not just to a few central nodes, it becomes infinitely more difficult to take down a terrorist group. The government and military should use this information to be better equipped to take down terrorist organizations. This information can show them where to strike to eliminate the most important nodes in a network.

Another way networks can be used to battle terrorism is by tracing and connecting the nodes of a network to find the next node. In a 2006 New York Times magazine article, Can Network Theory Thwart Terrorists?, Patrick Radden Keefe examines how the National Security Agency uses Network Theory to make connections between terrorists to locate other members of a cell. Keefe writes about a Cleveland consultant, Valdis Krebs, who created a network map connecting all of the 19 terrorist involved in the 9/11 attacks within just a few links, using shared addresses, phone numbers, frequent flier numbers, etc. Most of these men were linked to each other through one leader. In retrospect, it has more of a reflective value, but if found beforehand, this time of work could provide preventative measures.

An issue that occurs with this kind of network mapping though is surveillance of everyone, even just innocent, everyday citizens. Because we are all supposedly linked within six degrees of separation, most of us are probably surprisingly close on network maps to people we wouldn’t expect, such as terrorists and criminals. That means many innocent people will end up being watched because of such linkages. This topic quickly morphs into the much-discussed, hot-topic battle of national security vs. individual privacy. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Media Platforms Pumping Out Participatory Prosumers

Some of the most intriguing reading is that of Mark Deuze in "Convergence Culture in the Creative Industries," who plucks some kernels of meaning from the notions of hybridity, odorless cultural content and familiar distance. These three concepts, all involving the blending of two distinct cultures into another, third-party culture or product can be viewed with a strategic lens. In many regards, these terms are applied when one entity is attempting to adapt products to various global markets, ensuring they will be successful worldwide. If a product can be altered to be in tune with a particular culture, and yet retain a somewhat universal appeal then the chances of the product having global demand is greater. We witness these tactics in commercials or ad campaigns all over the world from corporations selling everything from clothing to plane tickets.

But doesn't this all boil down to people?

Deuze adds a surprisingly human aspect to what seems to be a convoluted system of marketing, economic and business-driven tactics. Deuze claims that people worldwide are utilizing the same media platforms as larger entities to engage in what is called "participatory culture". This may not be such a novel concept, given the history of communication technologies and media allowing people to bridge connections, but Deuze goes one step further to say that people are much more dynamic than these communication tools may have intended for.

There are entire cultures that sprout out of the hardwirings of the Internet or the satellite signals of digital television - groups of people dispersed all over the globe that share a commonality forged from the media platforms they use. Some of the examples we used in class were the Comic-Con conference, global viewers participating in forums like LostTalk about the television show Lost and vampire-enthusiast cultures inspired by the Twilight book series. Readers, do not dismiss these phenomena as mere affirmation that geeky people exist all over the globe. There is something to this.

Take YouTube for example. The video broadcasting website is the epitome of participatory culture because users all over the world can upload their own content, view others' content and share that content using a number of other media platforms. This is an example of a platform that supports its users being "pro-sumers" or both producers of content and consumers simultaneously. Once in a while, certain videos can become so widely shared that they are said to "go viral" and are watched all around the world within a short period of time.

This is why when my friend and current roommate created the "Taco Bell Rap" video, he gained thousands of views in just two days (hits number over 2 million now) and even has videos created in response to his own original content from all over the world. This is truly participatory culture at work, where someone in the United States can have others access his content, resonate with it and respond in the same media platform, all of this occurring just by simply producing and consuming content - no advertising necessary! My roommate was even contacted by a certain fast food corporation (that shall remain nameless) to fly to California for a string of television commercials.

That leads me to wonder how marketing will change in the next few years, considering communicating with each other via these media platforms can sometimes be just as easy or in some cases more effective than ads. How will big-time advertising, public relations and media companies tailor their content to droves of pro-sumers who are all chattering amongst themselves anyway on YouTube, Twitter and the like? I would certainly like to see.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cultural Hybridity: Melting Pot Vs. Salad Ball

When people say about American culture with a diversity of races, cultures it was refered with 'Melting Pot.' However, it has been changed to refering as 'Salad Ball.' Like every ingredients have its own taste but better within a Salad Ball, the culture should be like that. In other words, rather than seeking the assimilation, respecting and protecting its own culture but mingled as one society together. I think this also can be adopted to the world's culture too. We are heading to the globalization era and interaction has been increased tremendously.

In this regards, the cultural hybridity is significant. While some country adopt cultural differences, other countries cannot. In Ugly Betty case is interesting. In Korea, Ugly Betty was imported as an original form. It was not huge success as other American TV show such as CSI, Gossip Girl but quite well know among group of people who love to watch American TV show. When I readl Miller's article about Ugly Betty, I was surprized that the original version was from England not America. Also, I think it is a good example for localizing the contents.

For refering the localization of the media contents, Salad Ball approach is required. By adding the local culture, not assimilating attempts, the local people can accept more of global contents. This cultural hybridity also think with post-colonial approach. South Africa where experienced the colonial imperism from European countreis supporessed by super-power. After independence, South Americans think other super power is suppressing them. The represental approach for this would be 'dependent theory'. No culture is imperial to other culture and every culture has been related to each other (even though there are certain degree of differences).

Cultural Hybridity should convey this value which also related to the global citizenship. In this regards, cultural hybridity an be a useful tool for achieving a global society with diverse cultural values.

Hallyu, the Korean wave

Few months ago, while I was in Korea, I was watching news in the morning. Suddenly, the K-pop was appeared in the news and my family were quite surprised because it normally do not broadcast the entertainment field. After a while, we were surprised again that there were rallies among young Parisienne to extend the K-pop concert in Paris. We knew that there were quite big Hallyu popularities in Asian region but it was quite hard to imagine that Hallyu will gain the popularities in Western coutries.

As a Korean, it is interesting and (quite happy) to see that the Korean culture is getting popular world wide. When my colleagues were came back from the conference held in Ajerbaizan, they told me that the Ajerbaizan people want to take picture with my colleagues keep saying how beautiful my colleagues are! The Korean telenovela is really popular in Ajerbaizan and they think every Koreans are pretty no matter how they really look like. My colleagues were amazed to the effect of Hallyu.

The Korean wave has been started from the Korean government's investment. Taiwan today illusted that the Korean government allocated national budget of US$805.2 to cultural and creative industry. The Korean Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) also invest the African television market in order to spread Korean soap operah. The Korean wave enables braodcasting content market has been increased 9.3 % in 2009.

The diplomat analyzed that the success in Korean cultural exports due to the ownership is not belong to Korea but to the public which is distinct from the Hollywood products. content is for family friendly. Family can enjoy the Korean dravelas since the contents is mainly describing the family oriented stories without violent and sexual contents.

Miller suggested there are three ways how the telenovelas are exported. Most Korean drama exported in canned telenovelas format. When I was in Philliphine, I stayed in rural area with my Philiphine host family. We were watching Korean telenovelas through TV and it was interesting and sometimes embarrased me to see dubbed Korean telenovelas. Sometiems, Korean telenovelas are produced in order to export. They were put some sins filmed in target country making telenovelas to be familiar to the target culture.

In movie industry, it is quite interesting that there are many trials to co-products the movies across the Chinese/Japanese movies and Hallywood productions. Normally, it is much collarborated in co-products between Chinese, Japanese productions comparing to US productions. I believe this is mainly due to the cultural similarities. However, it is not yet successful.

With the globalization, the telenovelas are also spreading all over the world overcoming the cultural differences. The Korean wave improved itself that the Korean culture can be shared with other culture all over the world. The Korean wave is significant that this is the culture from East to the world not from the West which means that there is certain diversities arose in culture in entertainment industry.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The TV Format Marketplace

Most people don’t realize how international TV truly is. Until the last week, I didn’t realize the overlaps that exist between the programming in different countries. I knew that there were a few shows with multiple national versions, like X Factor and So You Think You Can Dance. But I had always thought those were exceptions, not norms. In fact, it is very common for shows to be sold either as the original production, with or without dubbing, or as a format. A format is the premise of a show that can then be remade to adapt to another culture or country.

The other surprising thing to me is that the US doesn’t really dominate this business. Although the ownership of the global media system is increasingly based in the US, it seems the US is not the biggest player in the TV format game. The UK easily wins that title, according to the Format Recognition and Protection Association, FRAPA. They released a report in 2009 that showed that the UK led in the number of formats exported, followed by the US and then the Netherlands. I was also surprised by how many show formats the US imports, which was 67 between 2006 and 2008.

Reality TV, competition shows and game shows are the easiest and cheapest to adapt, and so are the most common types of shows to be sold as formats. But according to FRAPA, the sale of telenovelas and dramas are increasing. Some popular shows the US has gotten from the UK include Hell’s Kitchen, the Office, Dancing with the Stars, Trading Spaces, American Idol, Prime Suspect, All in the Family, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, What Not to Wear, Whose Line Is it Anyway and Wife Swap.

There’s even a conference where programs and formats are bought and sold, called MIPTV. According to a Guardian article, they literally trade in television shows to market them in new countries. A director of global TV distribution for one of the companies, ITV Studios, Tobi de Graaff is quoted in the Guardian as saying, "Take what's successful about the show but don't ignore that you are dealing with different cultures and make the right twists to make it feel extremely home-grown and natural." 

And sometimes a show does that very well and succeeds and other times it doesn’t. For instance, Skins is a very popular British show about a group of teens and deals with controversial and racy topics. MTV used the format and remade it as a US show and it completely flopped. For me watching it, it just didn’t make sense and was too outrageous and obviously most Americans would agree, since it was quickly canceled.

A British show I loved is My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. It features members of the Irish Traveller community during big events such as weddings and First Communions. It’s fascinating because everything is so over the top and it also portrays some of the most interesting aspects of their culture like the young age of brides at the weddings and the relationship between men and women. It was a huge success in the UK and it was also broadcast in the US and did extremely well here. When it was rebroadcast in the US in its original format, it was on TLC and TLC was advertising to find US gypsy families for a US version of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. I personally hope it happens because I loved watching the first series of this guilty pleasure, but it would also be really interesting to see if that kind of show can make the transition and appeal to a mass audience like the original. 

The two extremes of global culture

In class this week we talked about convergence culture and hybridity. Prof. Hayden said that audiences still watch things that are culturally proximate. He mentioned the theories of Iwabuchi in regards to the spread of Japanese anime. Iwabuchi said successful products are culturally odorless, or unmarked. My first thought was the Tamagotchi phenomenon. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the toy, Tamagotchi is a handheld digital pet invented in Japan. It was a toy that seemed to involve more work than play. After the Tamagotchi pet was born, it required frequent attention and care.

All rights reserved by shazzy63

 These were all the rage when I was in elementary school. My friends would sit in class and worry that their Tamagotchi were going hungry. Some would even go to the bathroom just to feed their digital pets. I didn’t understand the appeal, but I begged my parents for one so I could fit in. It seems impossible to explain how these toys caught on. But the cultural odor theory might do the trick. The device was small and egg-shaped and the pets didn’t resemble any real animals. They were simple to use and understand. The digital pets also inspired a movie, an animated television series, and video games.

Kraidy questions the emergence of a hybrid global culture. The idea goes along with the homogenization of media to please a wide range of audiences. It all goes back to commercial interests. As the market expands, media producers are forced to adapt. Creating “glocal” products has become not only valuable but necessary for economic success. This begs the question – will audiences accept international entertainment that has a strong cultural odor?
Media don’t have to be void of any cultural references to be internationally popular. The filmmaker Sylvia Schedelbauer wrote an essay on cultural hybridity in the film “Avatar.” She points out certain the blend of varied cultural images throughout the film. These include the forests of Pandora, which simultaneously resemble the Amazon and the Redwood forests of California. The Na’vi people also have traits of various indigenous peoples. The movie was enormously successful. “Avatar” passed “Titanic” as the highest-grossing film of all time. The Globe and Mail also recently reported that “Avatar” is the most pirated movie on the Internet. Audiences obviously responded enthusiastically to the film even though it really can't be called all that culturally proximate for anyone.

Can a product that has smatterings of various cultures such as Avatar, or one that is extremely generic like the Tamagotchi be considered examples of a global culture? 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Is GlobalPost a New Model for Global Media? A Critical Approach

It can be safely stated that the "global media system" - a worldwide network of interconnected news flows - is not as cosmopolitan as its idyllic definition makes it out to be.

As Daya Thussu originally noted, 24/7 news cycles facilitated by the likes of CNN or the BBC do not work. Yes, they may be accessed simultaneously by all people around the world, but they do not automatically constitute a new and improved global public sphere where we have some heightened understanding or knowledge of foreign locales. If anything, we have learned that global media has, in a way, siphoned off certain groups while others may get over-exposure and this is all at the hands of those who own the global media system, a mere five corporations that control 90 percent of the content flowing throughout the world. Some of the disastrous side effects include spiral of silence on smaller, less competitive media organizations and an ever-widening corporate interest in what is news.

What is a media-consumer to do?

Enter GlobalPost, a Boston-based news organization that prides itself on bringing back international news reportage, this time coming from foreign journalists themselves. According to GlobalPost's mission statement, the organization does not send American journalists to the far reaches of the world to report. Instead, they hire those who have significant experience who are already located within foreign countries that can grasp the news of their various regions and effectively report it to the United States. Seems like an internationally-focused model, right? The answer: maybe.

This could be stretched to be seen as a mild form of contra-flow, which Thussu defines as the smaller, yet still present flow of media coming into the United States from foreign countries. However, there are some crucial flaws to making this connection. First, GlobalPost expressly states that they train their foreign journalists to write and report for an American audience, not a global one. Unfortunately this rings true with Robert McChesney's notion of mainstream media upholding the views of the status quo (in this case American media corporations), and thereby negates GlobalPost as a news source sought after internationally.

Second, GlobalPost's practices do not meld with Thussu's call for geo-cultural media, where the content being produced is "by the people, for the people," meaning those of certain cultural background produce content for diasporic communities of that same background, regardless of location. If the organization were to encourage their writers to contribute content as they would in their own countries, perhaps this outlet would have a different effect in the global media sphere, however, it is not in the business and economic interest of GlobalPost to do so, given their audience.

So while what GlobalPost is doing is novel in its intentions, it does not serve the true purpose of being considered "global media". In this day and age, I am unsure of US-based examples of what global media would be, as it seems the more diverse views we receive from abroad, the better picture we can thereby paint.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Localization, Glocalisation

The world’s media system is becoming increasingly global and there is no way to deny that. According to Robert McChesney, eight transnational corporations control a large majority of the global media system. But in a strange way, the global media system has led to more local media cropping up. Local entrepreneurs have seen opportunities to provide programming in their local languages, especially when a lot of the content the TNCs provide is not in the local language. Then, furthering the cycle, the TNCs start to provide more content in the local language because they now have to compete with the local products. And although the content provided by the TNCs is often higher quality because they have the budget to create higher quality material, in many places the content provided in the local language will always prevail.

Companies are trying to find more and more ways to localize their content. According to McChesney, in Asia, Time Warner uses local musicians to do a song used for the promotional campaigns of their movies. They’ve found that this increases interest in movies that are otherwise completely Western. Lots of international channels are also trying to mix English language programming with programming that is in local languages or at least dubbed into local languages.

One of the best formats for dubbing is animation, because the dubbing doesn’t tend to look so obvious. McChesney mentioned that Cartoon Network is dubbed into many languages, even for small countries, like the Netherlands. It also makes sense that animation, which is usually children’s programming, is dubbed because children often don’t learn much English until they are school-age. Dora the Explorer is a great example. In the US, Dora speaks mostly English and teaches a few Spanish words. In the Netherlands, Dora speaks mostly Dutch and teaches a few English words.

I also found it interesting to see what Dutch adults preferred to watch on T.V. They overall liked to watch Dutch programming the best. While many young people do watch the U.S. show, Jersey Shore, even more watch the Dutch version of Jersey Shore, Oh Oh Cherso, where eight young Dutch adults party and hook up in a Dutch vacation town in Greece. 
cast of Oh Oh Cherso 

They also love watching their Dutch versions of reality shows like So You Think You Can Dance, X Factor Nederland, and Benelux’s Next Top Model. There are some American shows that are popular, particularly Glee, Grey’s Anatomy and Modern Family. But those shows are never dubbed since the Netherlands is such an educated country and almost all adults speak English. Besides the fact that most people seem to prefer local content, another reason I think many of the Dutch adults watch Dutch programming more than imported American or English content is that American and English shows are always at least a few months behind and a lot of young Dutch adults just watch them online when they premiere in the US or UK, instead of waiting months for them to be on Dutch T.V.

I think the experience of observing a European country’s television habits really helped me to understand the importance of localization. And it leads me to think McChesney cannot not be completely right in believing that the media has become completely globalized. While it was disturbing to see I could watch marathons of Keeping Up with the Kardashians (which I did, by the way, watch anyway!), it is refreshing for me to recognize how much I learned about the Dutch culture just by watching television, meaning that at least in the Netherlands, local content was alive and thriving. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy to the rest of the world

The Occupy movement has officially gone global. The lede on the Washington Post website Saturday was the violence in Rome. The story struck me because some of the worst violence occurred in St. John in Lateran square, where I lived last summer. Since our discussions have analyzed the protests here, I thought it would be interesting to see how European media have been framing the Occupy protests. The Post’s home page framed Saturday’s events as the expansion of American movement. Is that how other countries view it?

La Repubblica, Rome’s most prominent newspaper, did not directly mention any connection to the American protests. Their lede story focused on the shocking violence and the beginning of an international movement. The story said that the peaceful demonstrators separated themselves from the violent mob and held signs that read “We are the 99 percent,” which has become the mantra of the Occupy Wall Street protests. As an American, I made the connection, but the Italian media didn’t spell it out for their audience. Because Rome’s protests were the most devastating, it’s understandable that the Italian media would take that angle in the coverage.

The BBC linked the story to Occupy Wall Street right away with the headline “‘Occupy’ protests at financial crisis go worldwide.” Their story gave a brief rundown of the protests around the world including in London, Madrid, Frankfurt, and Sydney. The BBC framed the protests as frustration at financial mismanagement. Al Jazeera also referred to the expansion of Occupy Wall Street and focused on the events in Rome.

I find it interesting that the original American name “Occupy” name has stuck. As the movement continues to spread, will the name change to reflect a global scale? 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Made in KORUS: FTA agreement between Korea and US

Today, the Korean media was heat up to broadcast the FTA agreement between US and Korea has been passed the US congress. This agreement was pending since the Bush adminiatration.
While South Korea's president Myung Bak Lee is visiting Washington D.C., the US congress passed the FTA with South Korea yesterday. While the Korean government announced that the FTA agreement with US will be the win-win agreement for both nations, it has been a hot potato issue within Korea, especailly, between conservertives (pro-America) and progressives (anti-America). Actually Many Koreans are thinking that this will be less beneficial to Korean economy being occupied by American companies.

As Thussu mentioned, lieberalizing trade agreement including FTA is the global phenomenon. There were many resistence to this kind of agreement but the globalizationa flow make nations to sign on the agreement in order to grab the benefits from the FTA. While there is huge argument whether this agreement is an instrument of Western countries to expand their wealth or not, there are certain disadvantages to the nations that avoid to be members of agreement.

Regarding FTA between Korea and US, watching the media's perspecitve is really interesting. While the Washington Post posted the welcome dinner story for President Lee hosted by the Obama government after the successful FTA agreement discussion, the Korean progressive journals describes the FTA with US is the threat to Korea's economy. Interestingly, the US newspapers also introduce FTA: “These agreements will support tens of thousands of jobs across the country for workers making products stamped with three proud words: Made in America,” They are more focusing on the job, I think: interesting! comparing to the "occupying the Wal Street" it seems that they are concerning job availablities in US.

In South Korea, conservative journals (3 of major Korean newspapers are regarded as conservative lines: we call them 'Cho-Chun-Dong') were criticized that they only deals the FTA news in positive way which are pro to the Korean government.

While I was searching for this FTA coverage, I realized that the raw source for FTA agreement is hard to access for ordinary person which means that the media is the regular medium to access this kind of information. In other words, media should be objective to the news for conveying it to the people. By the way, who decide what is objective or not?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Global Governance: Global Challenges that requires Global Solutions

With the development and expansion of "internet sphere" to all over the world, it is enavitable to settle the global goverenment system in communication spheres that over the sovereignity. In this regard, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) has been held in December 2003 in Geneva. WSIS also invites new actors besids the governments bodies in global society, a various NGOs and civil society associations. Raboy comments this various actors' participation to WSIS is positive since "the global governance environment in communication is based on the interaction and interdependence of a wide array of actors and policy venues."

It is interesting to see that the organizational structure of the WSIS because Government Division shares the same level of actors with other private sector division and civil society division. This view is a lot different from the traditional point of view that only allows state governments are admitted to be actors in decision making in global agenda. As we can see the global governance is not a concept anymore that only belongs to the state government. This indicates two differenct category in terms of global governance: 1) the expansion of democracy that brings different level of actors' participation onto the level of decision makers and 2) the hardship to reach the concensus on the global governance in communication.

However, even though there is a certain consensus in gloabal governance of decision making among those various groups, it would be much harder to activate the global governance into internet spheres. For example, the 'piracy' is one of the biggest issue in global governance. There were many trials among the governments, it is not actually effectively controlled. For example, England tried to block the piracy the content through the internet. Lord Mandelson in Britain introduced three strike rule against the content piracy through internet. It is the regulation that if they detect any illegal downloaders they will warn them twice and then if they find it agian for third time, the government will disconnect the internet forcefully. Lord Mandelson said "I was shocked to learn that only one in 20 music tracks in the UK is downloaded legally. We cannot sit back and do nothing" but he also admitted that "legislation and enforcement can only ever be part of the solution".

Within Britain, there were two different opinion appeared against three strike rule. While the music industry related company welcomes the rule for protecting their business, some civil society critics on it that the government should provide better system to download the music with reasonable price and easy access rather than regulate. They argued that it would activate the 'dark net' only. Then, what about the people from foreign county? They can access and download the piracy file of Britain music without holding passport and being in Britain. Of course, they are not regulated by the British government's law. How britain government controls their citizen when they try to download the file from the website where the Britiash government cannot detect? This just show us how difficult it is to regulate the internet spheres.

While there are a lot of negative aspect of global piracy on the contents. I found out one interesting aspect on the 'Korean Wave (Hallyu)'. Some people argued that the piracy actually makes people from the world, especially from China to assess to the Korean entertainment contents easily and this allows Korean Wave goes to all over the world. Now, interestingly, Hallyu brought the huge fortune and fame to Korean entertainment industry.

Internet sphere is a faily new space for people. It is a powerful space with weak governance. As Mattelart said, piracy is a dark side of globalization which the world should seek the solution together, not by the dominant power of the world.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Internet: A Case of Industrial & Societal Regulation

The Internet serves as a perfect case study of how industrial and societal regulation can play out in the same medium.

Industrial regulation, essentially meaning to treat the media as a commodity or good, is seen in various domestic and international regulations that have already been set into place. Such an area is copyright or other issues of intellectual property, where ideas, art, products, etc are given exclusive ownership by their creator or patent holder. There are regulations in place that if anyone attempted to replicate or use another's copyrighted material it is punishable by law and the creator is owed damages. Examples of how this can be seen on the Internet are music, movies, photos, scripts or other products that are available for others to view but not utilize as their own.

However, this type of industrial regulation does have its fair share of circumvention. Many use various Internet tools to illegally copy these materials for their own use, and without a highly sophisticated method of immediately tracking down perpetrators, the laws surrounding the piracy of these materials online can be weak.

Not only are government bodies and private industries attempting to alter the seemingly "wild west" characteristics of the Internet, but the general citizenry do so as well.

Think of the many online social platforms we have available to us (Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube etc). Nearly all of these platforms have a built in social regulator - the ability to flag any content that is deemed inappropriate or unsuitable. Oftentimes we are the ones to catch and blow the whistle on those who are posting unsavory items online when the social platforms themselves would not have the capability to do so as efficiently. This doesn't have to be limited to social networks either. Any article or forum that has interactive elements and allows commentary can be subject to socially unacceptable statements, which, in many cases, will face a wave of moral backlash from other users.

I personally am fond of a post by Natania Barron for Wired Magazine in which she details the outright vulnerability of having an online persona and the possibility for social regulation.

Barron writes, "Both my husband and I have run into conflict in the last few months as more and more people we know join Facebook. I’ve been scolded for being snarky; my husband has been called out for being too political. And it occurred to me: our audience has changed drastically. We can no longer pick and choose—our audiences are now related to us, people in our daily interactions. That puts a whole new spin on social networking: obligation. It’s societal regulation all over again!"

In this sense, we are protecting our normative social atmosphere, enforcing what our society has collectively determined as appropriate and inappropriate. The social platforms have instituted flagging as a way to make it extremely easy for us to use social regulation online, but this 'flagging' would continue in some fashion even if an official system didn't exist.

With both industrial and societal regulation taking place in regard to the Internet at the same time, it is critically changing how we perceive it as an information communication technology. With more stakeholders entering into the discussion on how to regulate the Internet, especially across international borders, it is getting to be a hot button issue for nation-states all over the world. The only way to regulate, it would seem, would be to consult international bodies and groups, but at the same time nation-states want their individual authority. It is a tender situation, and I don't believe a clear answer will come in the near future.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Governing the World One Map at a Time

It’s no longer a question whether or not governance will move beyond the state, because it already has. Governance was once almost solely at the discretion of individual countries and their leaders. Now the state shares that responsibility with industry, the media, civil society and even technology.

The aspect that I find the most interesting is technology that plays a role in governance, particularly in developing areas where you wouldn’t expect technology to play such a large role. Usually technology is a tool wielded by NGOs.

Livingstone brings up the great example of Ushahidi. Ushahidi is a free and open source software that began in the wake of Kenya’s 2007 political unrest that collects data about ongoing violence that is submitted through e-mail, social networking sites and text messages Then the information is all compiled to essentially digitally map the area and keep people informed about what’s going on where. And even though Ushahidi started in Kenya, it’s now been used worldwide in 128 countries, in all kinds of conflict zones and natural disasters. From earthquakes in Japan and Haiti to violence in the Congo, and even right here in DC during the blizzard in 2010, Ushahidi was used as a tool. 

In this case, it is a combination of technology, an NGO and regular citizens that act as the players in governance. Without the people who send in information, Ushahidi would not work. It’s fueled by crowd sourcing. The one player Ushahidi does not need to function is the state.

So we’ve established that Ushahidi takes the state out of the equation, but what makes it governance? Livingstone uses this definition of governance: “complex of formal and informal institutions, mechanisms, relationships, and processes between and among states, markets, citizens and organizations, both inter- and non-governmental, through which collective interests on the global plane are articulated, rights and obligations are established, and differences are mediated. (Weiss and Thakur, 2010).” Ushahidi fits this definition perfectly. It is a mix of formal and informal institutions, relationships and processes between citizens and organizations, in this case non-governmental. Collective interests are articulated and differences are mediated, in addition to public safety being provided for. Ushahidi and other technological tools like it are great examples of a new form of governance. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reactions to activism

This week’s post is going to be a little stream-of-consciousness as I try to wrap my mind around the week’s current events and class discussions. One of the more notable events was the expansion of the Occupy Wall Street movement to cities including Washington and Baltimore. Mainstream media have done a less than stellar job of covering the protests. The movement continues to grow rapidly. Some of my friends have even participated. But I still don’t know what it’s about. I’m not sure if anyone really does.

One of my classmates attended the protests in Washington. He was quoted in the Irish Times as saying, “I think the main goal [of the protests] should be reform of the financial sector.” In other words, he was there and still didn’t know what the goal actually was. It seems to be about protesting anything and everything that’s wrong. In a piece for the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell said real activism is about organizing and assembling. Gladwell criticized social media activism as being based on “weak-ties” and inarticulate goals. That’s also how I would describe Occupy Wall Street, but that doesn’t mean it’s not activism. It’s just a different kind.   

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to knock any Occupy Wall Street participants or their beliefs. A lot of frustration has been building up in this country for a myriad of reasons. I understand the desire to rally for change. I’m just suggesting that activism itself is changing. While globalization has made international communication easier, it has also made communication less personal, less organized, and less direct.

Dismissing the people who tweeted about Iran or Tunisia as “slacktivists” is cynical. Sure, it could be that some of those people were couch potatoes who pretend to embrace causes to feel better about themselves. Or it could be, as I believe, that most of those people were actually concerned about events in the Middle East and wanted to spread awareness. Maybe they are occupying Wall Street as you read this blog. No one can attend or financially support every cause. We have to choose. Luckily, we can be involved in other ways. It’s not the same as being in the thick of it, but it’s not nothing.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Globalization: A Term Worth 1,000 Words

It was brought up in our class discussion that under the term “globalization” many have surmised that information and communication technologies in particular have a globalizing affect that spans across varying nation-states. This is true in the sense that John Sinclair characterized it – the sheer volume of information flow between countries has rapidly increased, but the reasons for this increase can be extremely different.

In my opinion, globalization is a multi-faceted term. It can be attributed to political discourse, economic interest, trade of services and goods, financial propositions and job outsourcing. It can also be viewed under a cultural lens, where we are exposed to foreign regions of the world we may never have been able to witness before (think global news networks, Skype, social networking, international NGOS, etc).

With the term encompassing such a large swath of meaning, we came to the questions: does it really mean anything, and, if it does, is this good or bad?

These are tough to tackle, but Assistant Professor at UCLA Ramesh Srinivasan took an interesting take in the Washington Post’s Five Myths by honing in on one particular aspect of globalization: social media.

The last of Srinivasan’s five myths of social media is that it creates a global village. According to Srinivasan, “Bridging disparate cultural and political backgrounds remains a challenge for social media. To learn from differing viewpoints, the technologies and cultures of social media must evolve so that they bring people together rather than keeping us in digital silos.”

Srinivasan brings up the now infamous Arab Spring, which is widely believed to have come about from the collective efforts of average citizens utilizing social media to spread the message of revolution. However, according to Srinivasan, less than 5 percent of Egypt’s population uses Facebook, and less than 1 percent uses Twitter. In our class, we briefly mentioned this particular example, and how many of the posts and tweets that fueled the fire of the Arab Spring were located in developed countries and acted as a megaphone to the conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa.

This puts globalization in a negative light, but I think it also rings truer than what many utopian viewpoints have suggested. We are certainly not living in an age where ALL of us have the world at our fingertips, as our reading from The Information Revolution and World Politics section on the Digital Divide has proven. As we marvel at the numbers of people using the Internet or social networking worldwide, we seem to forget that there’s a large gap between the wealthy and privileged and poverty-stricken in many countries. Our reading uses India’s burgeoning IT industry and simultaneous proliferation of slums as a perfect demonstration of this gap.

So, for all of the accolades globalization may have garnered, there are many pitfalls as well. In my opinion there has been too much entertainment of globalization as a completely positive or completely negative term, and I would like to see a more complex and developed interpretation of the it as we move into an even more integrated world.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Globalization: Eating Dutch Mexican food

Globalization is always a hot-button topic. People argue about it on the most basic level, and argue about whether it even exists or not. Even for those who have determined that it does exist, there is still often a lot of controversy. One of the biggest disagreements revolves around whether globalization results in more heterogeneous societies or more homogenous societies.

Those who believe globalization acts as a homogenizing force tend to subscribe to the theory of cultural imperialism. These people believe that developed nations (most often in the Global North) push their values, culture and ideals on developing nations (usually Global South) and that is labeled as globalization. So they believe that instead of all the global cultures mixing and combining, that developing nations are losing their cultures and just becoming like the developed nations that are exerting an influence in their country. Many people refer to this as the Americanization of the world, as the U.S. has a large cultural and advertising presence in many places. In John Sinclair’s “Globalization, Supranational Institutions and Media,” he tackles the communication side of this issue. He refers to this as media imperialism, which he describes as Western states pushing their media culture on developing countries. He says media has the power to influence with their content and act as a homogenizing ideological force.

On the other hand, there are those who believe that globalization allows for a eclectic and interesting mix of global cultures that can thrive in different places all over the world. It means countries can keep their national cultures, but combine them with other facets of other cultures. This could mean eating sushi for Christmas dinner in Paris or trying on traditional saris in India while listening to Britney Spears.

Most people who believe in either side of the argument believe in it pretty adamantly and absolutely. I think that it can depend on the culture. There are possibly places where cultures have become more homogeneous. When you see streets in Mexico plastered in American advertising, it can be easy to lean this way and see globalization in a negative light. But I think there are also places where globalization creates an interesting and new culture. I think I lean more towards this viewpoint, although I can see both sides. A great example of this is the popularity of ethnic food in Amsterdam, due to its large immigrant populations. When I was living there, I thought the fact that I could go to a restaurant run by Mexicans, hear Spanish being spoken and get better enchiladas than I have found in DC yet, was pretty great! 

The question I pose is this: What differentiates between the outcomes of globalization? Since I believe both viewpoints have valid points, what is it that makes some globalization a positive, heterogeneous force and other globalization a negative, homogenizing force? That’s a study of which I would be interested in the results. 

There's no "me" in globalization, or is there?

Globalization is a process. This point was briefly touched on in this week’s class. People have always traveled and explored. The desire for international connections is not a new phenomenon. Now it’s just easier. Journeys that previously took months to complete now take hours. We can maintain relationships with friends we’ve made on the other side of the world.  

Sinclair writes that the globalization process has brought increased interdependence and more exchanges among nation-states. This is mainly due to extreme advances in technology. Global trade transactions that Marco Polo could have only dreamed of are now not only possible but also practically instantaneous. Technological efficiency is something that we have arguably perfected. What we are nowhere near perfecting is cooperation.

Supranational organizations arise as an attempt to meet a common goal. Their success is hampered by an inability to compromise. The nation-state is still the major player in these organizations. Every action or law is considered in terms of its effects on each state. As each state considers its own interests, the greater good gets lost.
The European Union, established in 1993, is a relatively young supranational institution. On the surface, the benefits seem great – easier financial transactions and more convenient traveling.  Right now the EU is struggling with a financial crisis. Critics have wondered whether the euro is to blame. Somewhat unsurprisingly, there is a lack of consensus on how to resolve it. Economic powerhouse Germany isn’t all that interested in bailing out its weaker co-members. Germany isn’t alone.

Globalization in practice is actually a system of mutual selfishness. It’s an economic reality but a superficial sentiment. The U.S. is also an interesting case study. Sinclair mentions Sony as an example of a global corporation whose success proved that the U.S. is also subject to globalization. I’m not sure the U.S. is thrilled with competition from overseas manufacturers.  

Three years ago President Obama said Americans should be buying American cars to boost the ailing auto industry. Recently he said the U.S. needed to improve trading agreements. “You see a whole bunch of Korean cars here in the United States, and you don't see any American cars in Korea.” The goal is to spread one’s products far and wide, but not necessarily to be accepting when other states do the same. While some activists and scholars try to see globalization as a means to development, in reality it remains a game dominated by powerful political players.